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Physician’s 6 month perspective after switching from iPhone to Android

By: Dr. Michael Kerr

Steve Jobs sure cried a lot.

If you’ve just joined us, I’m writing about switching from an iPhone to Android from a Physicians perspective.

This is the third in the series. We’ve covered the initial thoughts here and the hardware here.

Smartphone choice is a very personal decision. In a recent fictitious poll, 74% of users were more likely to light fires, wave pitchforks, and gnash teeth when discussing their favorite phone operating system than debating religion. I’d urge you to read the entire article before posting comments.

So what on earth does this have to do with Steve’s excitable tear ducts? Well, by chance, I happen to be reading his autobiography, which isn’t a bad book if you’re on the lookout for something to do. One of the striking things conveyed in the book is how often Steve apparently cried. Not over justifiable circumstances–such as running out of bacon–but seemingly mundane things. This is, of course, nothing more than a segue into another theme that is detailed in the book–how the duopoly emerged between Apple and Microsoft.

Forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted history here. The book describes how in the early days of operating systems, two of the big players were Apple and Microsoft. Apple took Xerox’s ideas/software and made a GUI (graphical user interface) for their first range of personal computers. This is where things like a virtual desktop, icons, folders, and windows started. Windows brought out a similar interpretation, namely Windows 1.0. By all accounts, it was inferior, uglier, and less user friendly.

In the beginning, Apple had the market share and the sales. However, over time Microsoft clawed back, becoming the OS giant that it is now. In the author’s opinion, this was partly achieved through continuous improvements and persistence. With each revision, stepwise improvements were achieved.

I think we’re starting to see a similar pattern in the smartphone arena. Apple redefined smart phones with the iPhone. When Google released Android, it was worse than the comparative Windows 1.0. Since the initial release, however, they’ve continuously refined, improved, and updated.

As it stands now, in my opinion, the Android experience is on par with iOS. As a testament to this, I’ve had a very hard time deciding which I think is the “best” and which I wanted to keep as my daily smartphone. They’re not exact equals. Some things I like more about iOS, and some things I like more about Android.

In making my decision, I felt the most vital areas were related to the hardware, software, and ecosystem. We’ve already looked at the hardware, so let’s go into the others in more detail.


This was the numero uno reason I’d avoided other smartphone platforms in the past. The availability and quality disparity between the Apple app store and Google’s play store used to be massive. Apps were either simply unavailable, or the equivalent looked like it was designed by someone in grade school using MS paint.

The scope has changed considerably. The difference between the two is now negligible, except for medical software. I thought we could illustrate this, literally, with some comparison charts looking at availability and cost.

I made a list of my essential apps I use on a day to day basis. Obviously this will vary between individuals, and probably isn’t quite broad enough to extrapolate to the entire medical app genre. I compared the availability between iOS and Android, as well as the price. Surprisingly, it’s very similar these days.


If you’d like to know more about any of the apps, most of them have been reviewed by the iMedicalApps team. Otherwise drop me a question through Twitter.

Of the two that aren’t available, I dearly miss TapForms and Traumapedia. There are a few alternatives to TapForms, though not as good. Sadly, there’s nothing quite able to fill the niche of Traumapedia that I’ve yet discovered.

I’ve compared the prices for the available apps, and overall they’re quite similar. Sorry for using British pounds, I’m overseas at the moment.

Despite the reassuring number of green things in the comparison above, I couldn’t help shake the feeling that iOS still is the go to ecosystem for medical apps. There is absolutely NO app that I’ve found myself wanting exclusively available to Android. Developers are still using Apple as their first choice of platform.

As an Android user looking at the 2012 most innovative medical apps list here, you’re pretty much out of luck.


So it seems that although the big medical apps are now universal, innovation and new apps are still breaking through via the iTunes market more so than on the Google Play store. This is the single biggest negative that I’ve found from making the switch.



iMedicalApps periodically features contributed articles from clinicians, researchers, and industry leaders with interesting perspectives to share.

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11 Responses to Physician’s 6 month perspective after switching from iPhone to Android

  1. Michelle June 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Just an FYI, Browzine which is very similar to Read by QxMD and Docphin is available on iPad and they are currently working on an Android version.

  2. Craig June 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    As a fellow “convert” to the dark side,I’ve found that the Android platform does a few things a lot better than IOS. I used mine for a lot of personal education. It’s nice being able to watch a video and take notes at the same time. That being said if Apple came out with a Phablet size phone like my Galaxy Note II, I’d switch back. Being a lazy person, I like the comatabilty you get with a unified platform. iPhone, iPad and Mac

    • girish July 24, 2013 at 3:01 am #

      even for me, the size matters lot on these phablets, especially when you have to read a lot. I have moved to galaxy mega 6.3 just for that reason and still use my ipad for few apps (eg simmon). Galaxy mega screen is almost 3 times the iphone 5. If apple is anywhere close to androids on screen size, I would move back!

  3. SleepyDoc June 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Well, in 2 weeks when I get my note 2 I will definitely be doing a comparison. And one important thing you said which was….’you had to repurchase apps’……that was a major reason I had not bought an android device. However….my curiosity has gotten the better of me……and i cant wait to get my hands on it. I especially want to see the different ways I can use the S pen to increase efficiency on the wards, possibly also take notes during meetings and grand rounds. I can’t wait. Thank you for your three posts on your experiences.

    • Iltifat Husain, MD June 20, 2013 at 4:33 am #

      I have seen med students use the S-pen to take random notes during rounds. I was surprised by how well it works, but it does take some getting used to.

  4. Andy June 20, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    “Android doesn’t currently offer a tablet experience that can match an iPad as yet.”

    This comment is plain not true and shows me that you haven’t really tried any of the Android tablets out there. The Nexus 7 and 10 are both EXCELLENT tablets that are a part of Google’s flagship line. The hardware in both are comparable and even better in many aspects than the iPad and the app availability is exactly where you said it is in your article, almost identical. The Nexus 10 is a full $100 cheaper at the smallest model and has double the RAM , equivalent CPU and camera. Not to mention android devices support NFC, wifi direct, miracast, and a number of technologies that apple is miles behind on. Oh, did i mention Adobe Flash. Yeah.

    • mick_kerr June 21, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Hi Andy.

      I own a nexus as well! The hardware is fantastic, however there still remains a lot of problems regarding tablet optimisation of apps. Getting better for sure, though when it comes to tablets for medical professionals, I think the iPad is still quite far ahead.

  5. Sue June 20, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    As for the pounds, there are plenty of good currency converter apps 😉

  6. John Cox June 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Ortho Traumapedia is available on Google Play for Android:

    • mick kerr June 22, 2013 at 5:08 am #

      my god. installing now.

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